Friday, October 30, 2009

I need your help! SOS! WOK! PAN!

Did you know that I am single-handedly keeping Morningstar Farms in business? Me and the company are such good pals I'm a Facebook fan. I'm a member of their prestigious Insider's Club. Junior's on their Chik Patties like a...oh crap, it's early, insert witty simile. Or is it metaphor? Did I mention it's early?

I'm begging you, if you know of any good toddler cookbooks, tell me what they are. Junior wants to dress up as a Morningstar Farms Veggie Riblet for Halloween and cute as he'd be, it'd be so nice if we could wean him off the pre-made stuff and onto something Mama Mullet made.

P.S. Please, please, puhleeeze don't suggest Jessica Seinfeld's kiddie cookbook. I think the family has enough money and the cover design is so hokey!

P.P.S. I was not paid to write this post. Not even in black bean burgers.

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Yet another reason why big-handed men are show stoppers

I saw a doctor in Mulletville today about my busted knee. Turns out I’ve got Chondromalacia Patellae. If you’ve never heard of that before, it means that my knee mistakenly believes it’s attached to an 85-year-old body and has decided to eat itself. Luckily I don’t have the flatulence problem of an octogenarian, but I’m sure my hiney will be the next thing to go. I can just sense it.

News of my condition put me in a foul mood for the rest of the day. More foul than usual. That was unfortunate because I had a meeting scheduled—for the newly formed Mirth and Recreation Committee.

Yes, that’s right: Mirth and Recreation Committee.

Because working 35-80 hours a week isn’t enough. Sitting in a veritable petri dish of germs and dysfunctional personalities isn’t enough. Now, instead of setting us free at the end of the day, my company has devised another committee whose intent is to entrap us—under the guise of merriment.

Hah! If I wanted to channel recreation through my workplace I’d get smashed, strip off my clothes and spray paint enormous penises on the building.

The head of the Mirth and Recreation Committee (who henceforth shall be known as The Head) had other things in mind, namely an after hours cookie and punch get-together with a roaming magician.

Sound like fun? No! A magician can pull a Ferrari out of his ass; it still doesn’t make up for the fact that I’m not home with my child. I just want to go home!

For once, I got some support when I said as much. It was decreed that the get-together would be held during lunch and that the magician would do a demo beforehand so the committee could determine whether or not he’s entertaining or annoying. Oh, how I wish there were a trap door.

Everything was going smoothly until The Head said, “How will everyone know when the get-together is over?”

There were harrumphs, nervous coughs, talk of the get-together last spring that lingered and lingered.

Someone raised her hand. “What if we signify that it’s over by having people clap?”

Yes! Yes! The Head loved that. What a brilliant idea! Why market the event with a run-time of noon to one when instead you could shoo everyone out with ambiguous thunderous applause?


Then, from The Head: “Who shall start the clapping?”

Everyone shrugged their shoulders. Who indeed?

A smile spread across The Head’s face. “Hold your hands up. Whoever has the largest hands shall begin the clapping.”

As I raised my hands high in the air for inspection, I fought the urge to simultaneously bang my head on the table. Right now, it’s the only body part that’s working. And even that is questionable.

(If you're having a nah-uh moment, let me remind you of this and this.)

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

If I get any sexier I'm going to have to end this blog

I’m finally back from the David Gray concert in New York City. Yes, that was Saturday night and today is Tuesday, but I fell so in love with David Gray that I decided to sit on top of his tour bus for a few days, just to be close to him.

In a few words, underpasses suck.

I didn’t need my husband’s athletic cup during the show, but I could have used a sweat guard. We were in the third row and I could practically see the sweat flying off Mr. Gray’s body. Unlike Hunk-o-mania, I jumped up in the air to lap it up.

Yes, I am that much in love.

But like everything else, once something good crosses the border into Mulletville, it turns to shit. So now instead of basking in the warm glow of my newfound amour, I am hobbling along with my head down.

Why? My knee is busted.

I get sharp shooting pains when I walk, and I don’t know why. Perhaps it’s from carrying a 40-pound toddler? Perhaps it’s from running through the halls of work and trying to compensate for my still-healing sprained ankle by hopping on one leg?

Or maybe—and I think this is the most logical—my body dislikes Mulletville so much it’s decided to simply fall apart.

I’m being serious, here. I need a change. I’m in a big, fat funk and I don’t know how to get out of it. All I know is that the present situation isn’t working. My work environment is toxic. It’s a matriarchal system gone horribly, horribly wrong. My hometown depresses the hell out of me. It gets dark after lunch (slight exaggeration, I guess). I miss my son. I now limp on both sides of my body. And every Monday I sit next to a guy in a meeting whose Thoreau coffee mug always seems to be pointing at me. It reads:

Which makes me think of Oprah’s saying:

"If you do not listen to the whisper, you will then get a message, and if you don’t pay attention to the message, you will get a crisis, and eventually if you ignore that you will get a disaster. The first hint of fear, the first whisper that something is out of order, pay attention!"

Blah, blah, blaoprah. Let's rewind and read that Mullet-style:

"If you do not listen to the smushed finger and smashed car door, you will then get a smushed toe, and if you don’t pay attention to the smushed toe, you will get a sprained ankle, and eventually if you ignore that you will get a busted knee and pitiful case of woe-is-me. The first hint of a mullet, the first hairdo that is business-in-the-front, party-in-the-back, pay attention!”

Now look, I’d much rather lend my ear to Thoreau than Oprah, but the woman’s got a point. I think the Universe has been shouting at me (and my finger, toe, ankle and knee) for a while. I’m not sure what we’re going to do but holy shit, if I’m still blogging about my same woes in six months (or if I'm typing with a salad tong taped to my shoulder because I've lost my arm), I will end this blog.

(Hah! I'm so clever!)

Saturday, October 24, 2009

I'm hoping this is the kind of function where my privates won't be under attack

I’m going to see David Gray in NYC tonight with my girlfriends. My friend is bringing her dog, so her dog can stay with her sister while we go to the concert. For reasons I don’t quite understand, the dog will be wearing a diaper.

I didn’t ask.

I’m a little nervous because the crew that I’m going with is the same crew who planned my bachelorette party in NYC four years ago. Picture me, a sweet little engaged lamb, carefully packing my overnight bag for my last hoorah. Now picture my friends at the chotchkie store, buying penis shaped straws and lollipops.

I thought we were going bar hopping. Instead they took me to...


Yes! And it was as gross as it sounds. Hundreds of brides-to-be and their friends sat at tables in what seemed to be an abandoned factory. The room had the smell and feel of a petting zoo. A dark petting zoo with sweaty, gyrating men everywhere. Men danced on stage and their oil and sweat flew off in big chunks and hit you in the face!

Ok, that might be the tequila talking. I had a lot tequila.

Women screeched and screamed as the dancers worked the crowd. Sometimes I’d look over and see a dancer holding a woman around his waist as he thrust her up and down. The women seemed to enjoy this. I must have been snarling at the dancers because no one tried to pick me up and dry hump me.

The grand finale of the night was when each bride-to-be was called up on stage so she could enjoy a personal dance. There was more thrusting and screeching. Some women were placed on the ground and ploughed. Others were stretched and pulled into positions I’ve only read about in Cosmo. I can’t be sure, but I think I saw a live enactment of the much heralded Wheelbarrow position.

Then it was my turn. The sweaty, oily man sat me down in a chair. I'm sure I looked grossed out (and, ok, cross-eyed from the tequila). He approached me and gyrated. He tried to spread my legs. I believe I put up some resistance. When he finally pried my legs open, I looked away and that’s when he made a fist and jabbed me—in my crotch!

Not a Vin Diesel kind of jab, but enough of a punch that it stung.

I got up and walked off stage. My friend asked me, “How was it?” and I shouted, loud enough so everyone could hear: “HE PUNCHED ME IN THE CROTCH.”

I thought that after my declaration I’d fall into the sympathetic arms of the sisterhood, or at least the establishment. Alas, some chick in the bathroom was on her knees as she thanked her dancer for her dance. She didn’t care about my mangled privates. And the manager? When I told him what had happened, he asked if I wanted him to rub it all better. Bastard!

I was so irate that I demanded we leave. I started towards the door and then I fell. Flat on my back on the concrete floor. I was in a cab by 10:15 and in bed by 11.

Rock on!

So you see, when my darling girlfriends tell me we are going to a concert in NYC I am a little leery. I haven't actually seen the David Gray tickets. All I know is that we are getting a 2:30 p.m. train.

Should I bring my husband's athletic cup?

Thursday, October 22, 2009

My fondest memory ever, plus a winner

It was 8:43 a.m. I had just started up my computer when I heard a door slam across the office suite. I heard someone yell, “Don’t ever talk to me again!” And then I saw my boss running toward her office, away from another woman in the suite. My boss slammed the door. Her sniffling was audible through the paper-thin wall that separated our offices.

It was my first day of work.

After the sniffling subsided, I heard her doorknob clicking. Then, a few expletives. Then I heard what sounded like a high-heeled shoe kicking the door. There was grunting. More sniffling.

"I'm trapped!" she yelled.

A few minutes later the maintenance team arrived. They tried opening the door. No luck.

“You bent the hinges,” one of them said. “Did ya have an extra bowl of Wheaties today?”

“Just fix the damn door!”

Moe and Curly Maintenance Men spent the next few minutes chuckling as they pried the door hinges and took the door off of its frame. Instead of taking the door with them when they were done, they propped it against the wall outside my office.

What followed was a day of raised eyebrows and questions by curious passers-by:

“What happened here?”

“Someone have an accident?”

“Temper, temper.”

It was my first day of work.

Now, a mere five years later, here I am designing the Bon Voyage card to my herculean boss so we can all sign it and wish her the best of luck. She’s taking an early retirement. Moving to New Hampshire to make cheese or plant carrots or whatever it is that crazy people do when they decide they no longer want to torture their underlings.

So I’m sitting here looking at this fricken card. And I really, really, really want to write, “Don’t let the door hit you in the ass on the way out.” Cause it’d be a special reference to that incident on my first day.


Somehow I don’t think she’d get it.

But do you know who did get it? A Nut in a Nutshell!

Thanks to the True Random Number Generator, she's now the proud owner of a Diamond Edition Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs Blu-ray Combo Pack DVD. I hope that whenever she sees the wicked witch she thinks of me. Er, I mean, of my suffering.


Tuesday, October 20, 2009

I covered Junior's ears, then my mind went to a naughty place

Tonight I took Junior to the indoor play area at the Mulletville mall. I overheard this conversation between a married couple as they hovered over their twin toddlers:

Mother to daughter, who was sitting on slide: “Abigail, it’s your turn. Go down.”

Father to son, who was standing in line for slide: “Jeffrey, don’t rush your sister.”

Mother: “Abigail, Jeffrey is waiting for his turn.”

Father: “Jeffrey, Abigail will go down when she’s ready. You can wait.”

Mother: “Go down the slide, Abigail.”

Father: “Don’t rush her, Jeffrey.”

Mother: “Abigail! Your brother is being very patient, now go down the slide.

Father: “Jeffrey, you back up and give her space!”

Mother [pushes daughter down slide]: "There. Your turn, Jeffrey."

Can’t you just picture this couple in bed?

Wife: “Richard, it’s my turn. You owe me for last night’s pathetic lay.”

Husband: “Don’t rush me, Francine. You know I need to cuddle first.”

Wife: “Stop pussy footing around, Richard.”

Husband: “I’ll get on top when I’m ready, Francine.”

Wife: “I’m waiting, Richard.”

Husband: “Dammit, Francine, don’t rush me.”

Wife: “Richard, if you don’t get your lame ass in gear I’m going to—”

Husband: “—I said I need some space! You’re ruining it. Now I’m going to need the Viagra again. Are you happy?”

Wife [gets vibrator from night stand]: "Well. He's up to it, Richard."

Love and marriage…love and marriage…falalalalala.

P.S. Don't forget to leave a comment on the post below if you want a chance to win a Diamond Edition Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs Blu-ray Combo Pack DVD. You only have until Wednesday night so yes, I'm rushing you!

Sunday, October 18, 2009

$50 says my boobs are going to hang the lowest, plus, a giveaway

I want to thank everyone who left me a comment on my flea post. I seriously expected comments like “You’re disgusting!” or “I’m never coming back to this blog, Cootie Girl!” but instead you shared your own horror stories. I don’t know why the Today show hasn’t picked up on the real household scourges. According to you guys, cricket, tick, flea, silver fish and earwig infestations are, like, rampant.


I still haven’t seen any fleas, so I’m hoping we caught it early enough to avoid a full-blown catastrophe. I also hope that it wasn’t stupid to have company over yesterday. I’d disclosed the situation to everyone, but still, I’m trying really hard not to make follow up calls today along the lines of “Hey, great to see you yesterday. Itchy anywhere?”

Two of the guests were my brother Ted, and his fiancée, Holly. If you’re new here, Holly’s the former nanny who set my oven on fire and whose parents invited us to a foodgasm.

I like Holly, I really do.

But. She and Ted are planning their wedding. Yesterday while we were talking, I asked her if she'd picked her bridesmaids and she said, "Yep—you're one of them. And Junior is a ring bearer."

Come again? Is it just me or does it take serious nut for a 21-year-old to tell a 35-year-old woman that she’s in her wedding? How about, "Hey, would you and your child like to be in my wedding?" Am I overreacting?

Chuck says yes. He keeps telling me to relax. Oh, I hate that. I think that every time a man tells a woman to relax, his testicles should be zapped with a taser. How can I relax when every black speck in my house makes me think we are seconds away from flea armageddon? Or when all I envision at my brother's wedding is me and a bridal party of 21-year-olds decked out in hot pink bikini dresses and sparkles? I’ll show you relax, you %^&#^#^&ing %#%#^&%#^&er.

Oh, dang. I’d hate to see this post end on a sour note. I started off all warm and smoochy with gratitude and look, I’m back to being crotchety. Would it make it all better if I said I had a Diamond Edition Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs Blu-ray Combo Pack DVD* to give away?

This movie is always a thrill to watch. The story-line contains twists and turns and keeps you on the edge of your seat. The movie is humorous, dramatic and engaging.

It’s completely remastered and digitally restored, plus lots of extras. All you have to do is leave me a comment and a way to contact you if you win. If you're not into chicks who cater to the needs of dwarfs, feel free to leave me a comment telling me I'm not overreacting.


This is open to U.S. residents only, since I have to pay postage. Leave your comment by Wednesday, October 21, 9 p.m., EST.

*Holy mouthful! This giveaway was made possible by the One2One Network.

Friday, October 16, 2009

From now on, my houseguests will be wearing Frontline collars while they enjoy my cheese and cracker spread

I’ve had it. I’m on the verge of setting everything I own on fire and moving into an Alaskan igloo so Chuck, Junior and I can ice fish, make snow angles and whittle icicles in safe obscurity. I don’t care if I have to shiver my ass off. I don’t care if snot freezes inside our noses.

At least we’ll be safe. Safe from…


Yes, I have been vacuuming my house and spritzing my furniture with vinegar—while wearing my lovely ankle air cast—because our indoor cats have somehow managed to get fleas.


Are you wondering, like I, how an indoor animal could have possibly acquired such a grotesque parasite? According to the vet, it’s rather easy. All a cat has to do is sit in an open windowsill and wait for a hungry flea to hop by. Voila. Flea infestation. Or, if you let a flea-carrying human into your home, that flea can hop off his or her pant leg and right onto your pet.


The worst part of this experience is the paranoia. If we hadn’t gone to the vet for the routine check-up, we wouldn’t have even known the cats had them. I never even saw one! So now I have to wonder, is this the calm before the storm? Are we fated to wake up tomorrow and find 10 zillion hatched beastlings? What if I missed one with the vacuum and it’s maniacally laughing at me from behind the couch, where its boffing every flea it can find for the mere pleasure of overpopulating my living room?

And my poor mother! She spent the night recently and slept on the couch—the cats’ favorite perch. There she was, lying in the den of flea sin, unknowingly offering her succulent flesh to the miniature monsters. Have you ever had to call your mother to tell her you might have given her fleas? All night she called me: “I can’t stop scratching. I can’t stop thinking about them jumping around on my head.”

“Try some vinegar. Try some Dove dish soap,” I offered feebly. “I’m sorry we gave you fleas.”

I’ve never felt so white trash in my life. I think there might even be a redneck song about it.

Oh God. We are SO Mulletville.

I can’t lie: I’m ready to take the cats for a ride and never look back. I can’t stand cats. The only reason I have them is because eons ago, my downstairs neighbor brought two little kittens up to my apartment and asked if I wanted them. Stupidly I said yes. I must have been in the middle of a drunken hook-up that I really wanted to get back to. I have no other explanation for why I would have agreed to own two cats.

And now we’ve had them for six years and I hear they could live for as long as 20! I’ll be 48 by the time they kick the bucket. Wrinkled and gray-haired and still a cat owner!

Shoot me now.

I suppose you could argue that the cats have brought some joy to my life and fine, I’ll concede that sometimes I like to pet them or let them rub up against my leg. But to be perfectly honest, the obligatory cleaning of litter and making sure they have water and food and are brushed and not shut in closets really annoys me. I have enough on my plate for fuck’s sake.

Enough is enough!

Please, I’m begging you: Pray for us. Pray that we caught it early enough to avoid a cataclysmic outbreak. Pray that Chuck, Junior and I remain bite free. But most of all, pray for my mother. Because if she calls me one more time and gushes, “Oh, that vinegar added such sparkle to my hair! I’m going to use it once a month”—like this flea thing is the best thing that’s happened to her—I’m not going to give her directions to my igloo.

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Parents of the Year? Of course we accept!

Dear Dr. Spock,

I know you passed away in 1998, but I see from your website that you have a team of experts who are ready and able to field questions (sorry I missed the window to speak to the real you; my husband Chuck didn't baste my bun until 2006).

Chuck and I are doing a great job parenting our toddler, Junior. At bath time, I tell Junior all about the large, talking spider that's living in our showerhead. And during the day, Chuck takes Junior on fun-filled outings, like this recent one to a dinosaur park:

The thing is, Chuck and I can't understand why Junior's suddenly using the word "scared" so much. A 20-foot tall dinosaur head with menacing teeth—and a mouth that could swallow you whole—is delightful, right?

And this guy with the dagger-like claws? Why, the better to tickle with, I say!

At a time when Junior is using all his energy to navigate this large, overwhelming world, it's sound technique to throw frightful characters into his pea-sized brain, right? Right?

Whew, thanks. I feel so much better.


The Mullets

Monday, October 12, 2009

I tried to be succinct but it was one of those verbose days. Also, I'm avoiding a stack of dishes, dustballs and a plastic potato man with no genitals

A long time ago, ecostore, Earth Baby and Pond’s asked if I wanted to sample some of their cleansers. At first I didn’t want to. I didn’t start this blog with the intention of writing product reviews. I don’t even know if you care what I think about certain products. Maybe you stop by because of my sunny disposition.


Having said that, who doesn't like to get free stuff? So I said yes. But then, I wasn't crazy about any of the products, so I thought I'd quietly not post anything.

But now, I don't want the FTC to take me away for not having disclosed my riveting experience with my free soapy products. So without further ado, here is how it went down.

(No one paid me to write this post and after I am done, I'm going back to posts about self-inflicted bodily harm, train hating and my husband's derriere. You know, the good stuff.)

ecostore Baby Body Wash ($10)

I kinda sorta liked this, but the lemon smell reminded me of dish detergent. The wash left Junior squeaky clean—literally. It rinsed easily but didn’t make bubbles. Bubbles don’t equal better cleaning, but Junior likes to play with them. They distract him from splashing and standing up in the tub, therefore they must be in our lives. Also, the wash wasn’t thick. When I turned the bottle upside-down and opened the cap, it rushed out. I lost half the bottle’s contents this way.

Conclusion: For as much as I appreciate the soap’s environmentally friendly ingredients and production, I probably won’t buy this product again.

Earth Baby Baby Shampoo ($15)

Chuck loved this stuff. Me? Not so much. The wash left Junior smelling like coconut, which made me crave piña coladas. Unlike the other wash, this stuff was thick. I had to keep rinsing Junior’s head; he hated that. He doesn’t get the tilt-your-head-back concept, so I came up with the stupid idea of telling him that there was a spider on the showerhead that wanted to say hi, if only he’d look up.

Boy, did that backfire. Not only was he afraid to get in the tub, I had to enlist the aid of the Grand Protector, aka Mr. Potato Head.

All of this made bath time rather stressful.

Junior [pointing at the showerhead]: “There’s the spider!”

Me: “There’s no spider, sweetie. Mommy was wrong about the spider. Please tilt your head back?”

Junior: “No! I want to get out. I see the spider! I want to get out!”

Me: “Please, Junior? Mr. Potato Head will protect you. Please tilt your head back?”

Junior: “I need a towel! Mr. Potato Head come in bath with me? See that spider?”

Me: “For the love of God there’s no spider! He went home. He’s never coming back. Please tilt your head back? Please?”

Junior: “Is the spider friendly? Is he friendly? Mr. Potato Head come in bath with me? I want to get out!”

Me: “Chuck! I need a piña colada!”

Earth Baby also sent me Organic Mommy n' Me Refreshing Mist. The concept sounds intriguing but I never knew when to use it, so it's still sitting in my linen closet. I mean really, the idea of misting Junior down makes me giggle. Maybe I'm missing out? Do you mist?

Conclusion: For as much as I appreciate the products' environmentally friendly ingredients and production, I probably won’t buy these products again.

Now, finally, Pond’s Wet Cleansing towelettes ($20+ for a 15-count pack of 8). It looks like the vast majority of reviews have been favorable. I myself wasn’t so juiced. Am I just a complainer? Will I ever be happy with anything? Do you mist?

Who the hell knows?

The thing is, I don’t like throwing something away every time I wash my face. I suppose the towelettes are good for cleaning on the run, but that’s not important to me. I like foaming up with a nice cleanser before bed. It relaxes me. Even though you’re not supposed to, I wanted to rinse my face. I'm a rinser.

The product’s write-up says the towelettes work on waterproof mascara. I disagree. Sure, Maybelline Great Lash mascara* is hell to get off—I can’t wait to be done with it—but in the morning, I had raccoon eyes from leftover mascara.

So, phew, I’m done. If I hadn’t professed a little product love a few weeks ago, I’d accuse myself of being difficult. But I’m not. I’m just a woman who would like to banish Mr. Potato Head from the bathroom and who enjoys washing her face.

Check, please.

* No one paid me to say that.

Sunday, October 11, 2009

Pantie lines should never be crossed

Chuck's step-dad is a bit of a Martha Stewart. He bakes, cooks, cleans and mends—with flair. When he and Chuck's mom offered to babysit on Friday so Chuck could go on more interviews, I was thrilled.

Then I came home and saw him folding laundry, with these on top.


Thursday, October 8, 2009

I need a Sugar Daddy to afford this

While we’re on the subject of newspaper clippings (you all are so clever with your shot comments), look what my co-worker left on my desk this morning:

This confirms what I have always believed about my co-workers: they want me to suffer.

Chuck and I are going to suck it up and take Junior to the Day out with Thomas extravaganza, but let me tell you, I’m terrified. Not at the prospect of standing next to a life-sized Thomas and Sir Topham Hatt (known in some circles as the “Fat Controller”*) or paying $18 for a 25-minute ride (that’s almost a dollar a minute) for all three of us, but because this event might catapult Junior to a place from which his little toddler brain may never return.

I’m afraid he’s going to become a Sodorite. And frankly, I’m sick of hearing about Salty and Cranky and Molly and Emily and Gordon and Henry and their damn shunting and puffing.

Sometimes when Junior asks, “Is Thomas puffin’?” I have to snicker. Yes, Sweetie, he’s puffin’...but he didn’t inhale.

And who but the “Everyone Poops” author uses the word “poop” in a story? Junior’s only two years old and he already giggles over this:

“Thomas is poopin’! Thomas is poopin’!”

And what the hell is up with "Thomas and the Big, Big Bridge"?

I know it’s just a kid’s story and I know that it’s fictitious, but tales that rely on readers' suspension of disbelief need to succeed at convincing us to suspend our disbelief. After Thomas’ wheels jump the track on the big, big bridge, I cannot get past the line “But inside his coaches, the passengers enjoyed the wonderful view.”

Are you friggen kidding me? Do you know the pandemonium that would ensue if people were trapped on a bridge—one so high it's in the clouds—because the train’s wheels had jumped the track? Do you really think that as people were teetering and hanging off the side of the bridge they’d be admiring the mountains? No. They’d be screaming, “Holy fuck, we’re going to die.”

Oh, but right, we’re supposed to be concerned about Thomas’ fear of the tall bridge. It’s always about Thomas. Hero of the rails my ass.

*Note: According to Wikipedia, the Fat Controller is referred to as The Fat Director in the first two books in the series (The Three Railway Engines and Thomas the Tank Engine). In the third book (James the Red Engine) he becomes The Fat Controller, as the railway has been nationalized.

In the American version, he has always been referred to by his actual name, Sir Topham Hatt, solely for politically correct reasons.

Monday, October 5, 2009

I'm finally ready to circulate a terrible family secret

Last night, after I zipped Junior up in his fleece footy pajamas, he hugged me and said, “I’m so happy I’m warm! I’m warm, Mommy! I’m so happy!”

Chuck glared at me. “Tonight’s the last night!” Then he looked in the hallway at this:

“Noooooooooooo…” I pleaded.

“No more fans," he said. "In the summer? Fine. Winter? No.”

“What if we just turn the heat up higher?”


I cried right then. Go ahead and call me strange, but you have to understand something: Fans are so valued in my family, they are passed down through generations. I don’t know if we were all aviators in past lives and crave the whir of engines or what, but fans are my family’s crack.

See? Here's my Great Uncle Morty and Aunt Flossie with their loved ones—all four of them:

And my grandfather? He had a metal fan he lovingly called Whirling Death.

I have fond memories as a child of it chasing me across the kitchen floor—the blades spun so fast that it hopped—as it tried to eat my skirt. It’s resting in my dad’s basement but someday it will be mine.

Sniffle, sniffle.

And you know how some fathers try to impart handy wisdom on their daughters so they don’t end up as vacuous princesses who can’t tell a fishing lure from a Muppet? (It’s more common than you think.) Some dads might teach their daughter how to drive stick; others might show them how to use power tools. When I was 16, my dad took away my beloved window fan and stuck a need-to-be assembled fan in front of me and told me to get to it.

My mom’s family is even worse. When we vacation together and unpack our cars, everyone is knee-deep in box fans:

We’re like groupies at a fucking fan convention. The first time Chuck went away with my family he freaked out, mostly because instead of the usual greetings, we sounded like this:

“You have your fan?”

“God, yes.”

“Do you?”

“Yes, of course. Of course. I sat with it between my legs.”

“I was so worried you’d forget it and we'd have to go to the store.”

“Never. I brought two this time.”

“Oh good. Let’s turn them all on right now.”

“Yes! Yes! Let’s go plug them in and have a cup of coffee in front of the fans.”

Out of everyone, my shithead brother has it the worst. He once left my mother’s house in the middle of the night in a snowstorm. He had forgotten to bring his own fan and the noise from my mom's fan wasn’t good enough. She was across the hall—with the door open.

Now look, I don’t want Junior to grow up to be a freak about fans but if it runs in the family, what can I do? I need the noise (and no, sound machines don’t cut it). And I have so few vices. I mean, really, besides self-mutilation and being a raging wino, I am the picture of inner peace. I don’t smoke, I don’t bite my nails, I don’t do whip-its, I don’t need to wean myself off Facebook or Poker.

I am Zen + box fan.

Can’t I just have my fan, Chuck? I promise next time it’ll be different. We can put the fan in the bathroom instead. You won’t even know it’s there.

The other option, honey, is that once I inherit Whirling Death I sick it on you.

Your choice.

(I know everyone out there has a weird familial vice, too. Come clean, what is yours? Subarus? Toilet paper dolls? Crock pots?)

Saturday, October 3, 2009

Maybe it's because I don't cook...

But I can't think of anything I'd rather read less while sitting on the throne.

Vegetable recipes? Seriously?

(I took this at our friend's house last night. No one thought it was odd that I emerged from the bathroom laughing hysterically then went back in with my camera. Maybe it's because they were too engrossed in their Asparagus Frittata and Roasted Parsnips daydreams. And I'm the weird one?)

Thursday, October 1, 2009

As soon as "The Hills" is over, I'll swing from the ceiling. Promise

My mother just left. She offered to watch today Junior so:

1. I can rest my sprained ankle

2. Chuck can spend the day job-hunting

3. Chuck and I can hang out


(Her winks, not mine. How can I possibly “hang out” with my husband wearing an air-cast? I guess if I hang from the ceiling with my good leg and swing to the side and Chuck stands on a chair and faces northbound with his left arm at a 30-degree angle and…oh, forget it.)

Because I am such a devoted mother, I hopped out to my mother’s car to say good-bye to my darling son. I admit it, I was bummed that I have a whole day off from work and that I can’t spend it with Junior. Yesterday, he actually kissed my boo boo. He only stepped on my gimpy foot on purpose four times before having to go into time-out. And oh, how I will miss him grabbing my crutches and yelling, “Can I try? Can I TRY? Please can I TRYYYYYYYY?” and then the ensuing meltdown.

Heart flutter.

Yes, parting ways was going to be heart-wrenching.

My mother strapped Junior into the car seat and I leaned in.

“I love you, I love you, I love you!” I cooed. I kissed his tender little cheek and caressed his soft, silken waves. “I’ll miss you! You’re my love bug! I’ll see you tonight, Sweetie. I love you, I love you, I love you. I love—”

“Close the door, Mommy?”

“What, honey?”

“Close the door? I’m going bye-bye.”

My mother snorted. And not a delicate, dainty snort, but one that probably hurt up to her sinuses.

“You can both bite me,” I said.

Parenting reality check #458,987,567,984: When given the option of being spoiled and pampered and indulged by Granny vs. watching Mommy hobble around the house and moan, "I can't stand this!" for the day, your toddler will choose Granny.


Now if you'll excuse me, Bravo is calling. (Tom Colicchio, you are so snarky!)

Make laundry fun — and punishable

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